Focus Paihia Community Trust’s goal is to establish a non-commercial community mountain bike park (MTBP) in the Waitangi Endowment Forest. This will provide a world class mountain bike facility, which embraces and celebrates the cultural heritage of the area and provides a land based healthy activity for people of all ages.
- To build a community owned and operated a world class Mountain Bike Park for the free use of individuals.
- To create a value of mountain biking/cycling to the Paihia economy from current $0 per annum to $3m in 5 years and to treble it to $9m in 10 years.
- To create directly and indirectly over 60 new jobs through events, services, accommodation, guiding, track construction and retail servicing the biking visitor.
Paihia (and the wider Bay of Islands) community is aiming to be a vibrant place to work, live and play with a MTB park helping to achieve some of the following outcomes that assist in the community’s drive towards acheiving it’s vision.
- Provides a land based, all-weather, all year sports activity which is relatively inexpensive and accessible to all.
- Provide a world class, potentially low cost community health related sports facility, keeping local kids positively focused, which is also attractive to local families with skill and experience level of riders from beginner to expert being catered for in the design of the park.
- Provide local job opportunities created by the economic stimulation from the increase in visitor numbers to the area.
- Potentially attract MTBP sponsorship and competitions to Paihia.
- Assist in pest control and kiwi conservation through the use of the tracks to allow easy ‘baiting’ of the area.
- Benefit the health targets set out by District Health Board and Sport Northland objectives – Northland has some of the worst health related statistics in the country.
- Symbiotically extend the use of Waitangi Endowment Forest from its current commercial forestry commitments and progress it towards a more responsible public recreation facility.
- The mountain bike park would respect and promote cultural, community and conservation issues.
- Attract the Auckland mountain biking market to experience the Bay from another perspective. It could provide an excellent land based outdoor attraction which is all year round and family friendly.
- Complement the existing construction of the national cycle way from Opua to Hokianga and the proposal for a cycle way from Kerikeri to Paihia through the Waitangi Forest..
- Support the goals set out by the current local and central government re cycle ways.
- Support the local Paihia/Waitangi business community and tourism in Northland, especially in the off season – by attracting an exciting ‘new market’ to the Bay for a land based activity that is relatively non weather dependent. Mountain biking families and weekend warriors need places to eat, drink and sleep and generally are well behaved.
- Great access – close to town in Paihia.
Mountain biking is a hugely popular sport around the world which provides revenue streams far beyond the trail itself. International visitors expect facilities like this to be available and are often frustrated when it’s not. Bike safety on Northlands roads are perceived to be dangerous, hence the need to create safe bike friendly areas is paramount for visitors and locals. Northland lacks any such facility and it would be an enormous positive for the area.
WORLD CLASS MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK
It’s important to understand at the outset that this project goes beyond the needs of a basic community facility. To achieve the recognition as a “World Class” MTB Park requires facilities that have a definite WOW factor, which will encourage riders to return for multiple visits, and to bring other riders with them to experience what’s on offer. The trails need to be “landmark trails” – a term used to describe trails that are so amazing you can’t wait to ride them again.
Our MTB Park will be a series of sustainable trails that:
- Protect the environment and are culturally sensitive
- Meets the needs of its users
- Require little maintenance; and
- Minimises conflict between different user groups
As we develop the existing Endowment Forest land into a World Class MTBP its current use as a commercial forestry business would be uninterrupted. The MTBP would be a series of pre-approved, professionally designed and well-constructed trails.These trails would all be:
- Culturally sensitive / respecting any cultural / archaeological points of significance.
- Have a health and safety (H&S) plan: emergency services would have quick and easy access to all parts of each trail. All trails to be within a specified distance from the forestry roads. The H&S plan would be submitted in accordance to the requirements of the law for this type activity. Informal discussions have begun with St. Johns Ambulance, Paihia.
- Single track and single direction trails of variable difficulty and length for all year round use.
- Appropriate drainage to avoid soil erosion and possibly surfacing to allow for all year round use.
- Well sign posted to notify the directional use, difficulty and distance. Also provides an opportunity for sponsors to advertise on the signs and provide the appropriate cultural information.
- Environmentally sensitive – avoiding forestry new / old tree growth, forestry machinery access points, erosion friendly.
- 100% kiwi friendly – requiring guidance from DOC.
- Respecting other forestry users – horse riding, walkers.
The Mountain Bike Park would provide the following experience:
- Fun, exciting and interesting trails that riders will talk about and attract people to come back.
- Single use trails for mountain biking.
- Beginner to intermediate mountain biker trails initially – Grade 2 (easy) and Grade 3 (intermediate). Progressing to Grade 4 & 5 in further development.
- Able to ride for hours without getting bored.
- Environmentally, conservationally and culturally friendly and informative trails.
- No motor bikes at all.
In order to acheive all this certain products and services will need to be provided at the MTB Park. It is intended that these products and services will be provided by existing and new local businesses and the MTB park will derive concessions from these activities that will allow the public to access the community facility for free.
THE CONCEPT PLAN
Please note this is a CONCEPT PLAN ONLY to give you an idea of what the park COULD look like. We will be consulting with DOC and Hapu over trail placement before the final decision is made.
We are extremely fortunate to have secured the services of JEFF CARTER and SOUTH STAR TRAILS to design and help us build the Mountain Bike Park.
Southstar Trails are an extremely highly regarded trail construction team run by Jeff Carter who have built mountain bike parks around the globe for many years. They originate from Rotorua where he was president of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club and has been responsible for the construction of the well respected Whakarewarewa Forest Mountain Bike Park. His team have an impressive mountain bike trail construction CV, having successfully professionally built MTB trails in Rotorua, Nelson and Canada for international MTB competitions.
- Director of Southstar Trails & Southstar Shuttles (Rotorua, NZ).
- Founding Director of NZ Trail Solutions Ltd (closed). Responsible for 110 kiwi trailcrew and the design and construction of over 500km of handbuilt singletrack in projects in Chile, Portugal, Jamaica, Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand.
- President of Mountain Bike New Zealand 2009/2010.
- President of Rotorua MTB Club 2007/08.
- Currently on the Standards NZ advisory board working on NZ track construction and maintenance standards.
- Qualifications: Bachelor with Hons in Mechanical Engineering from Canterbury University, Wheels Tracks and Rollers License.
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
A huge THANK YOU to all those who sent in Letters of Support. Especially considering the time frame. These letters form a very important part of funding applications and are also essential for the application to the Dept. of Conservation. Well over 200 letters were received. Support came from Heath, Education, NZ Police, sports clubs, businesses and residents from Paihia, Waitangi, Haruru Falls, Watea, Te Haumi, Opua , Russell, Rawhiti, Kerikeri, Kawakawa, Kaikohe, Kaeo, Oromahoe, Kaitaia, Dargaville, Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Dunedin, even from the UK and Canada – to name a few! Thank you for taking the time and effort to support this worthy project. The mighty power of the pen… or perhaps keyboard in some cases!
If you are interested in supporting the development of the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park, you can download a full information pack below.